Letter: Minority voice behind annexation drive

Editor:

I’d like to make it clear that the headline in Sunday’s paper is incorrect. “Verde Santa Fe Homeowners” did NOT ask to be annexed to the city of Cottonwood. A SMALL group, representing less than 5 percent of homeowners has made this request.

One large public meeting was held at the Cottonwood Recreation Center with more than 300 residents in attendance. The majority of opinions expressed at that meeting were anti-annexation. Yet, that was evidently sufficient to prompt the organizers to move forward with their agenda. A subsequent meeting was expressly ONLY open to those in favor of annexation, not “public” at all. This second meeting was reported to be attended by fewer than 50 people. Again, the organizers felt they had a mandate to move forward. Even if those 50 people actually represented 50 different homes, this is a tiny percentage of the homes in the neighborhood.

They formed committees; devised a website; wrote by-laws; appointed or elected officers, and have worked on a time line and raising funds. On the basis of this tiny flicker of interest.

Following is a message I sent to homeowners via e-mail last week:

“I would suggest that the Annexation website is clearly written by those IN FAVOR of annexation and some of their “facts” are opinion. I urge you to read it carefully, and not assume that all of this is fact or unbiased just because it says so.

FYI, VV Fire District has indefinitely postponed their plan to build a fire house on Tissaw Road (as of last week).

I am NOT convinced by the OPINION that we will get better service from Cottonwood Fire and Police. Those are not facts; those are opinions. If you live in an un-gated area of this neighborhood, you would know that the Sheriff’s deputies patrol regularly. Since the vast majority of 911 calls to VSF are medical in nature, your greatest concern might be whether your insurance covers the full cost of ambulance service.

It’s also a hope, but certainly not a fact, that Cottonwood will maintain ANY of our streets in the way we’d like them to be. Ask not IF, but HOW OFTEN city streets are chip-sealed, crack-sealed, re-paved, etc. Not every two or three years as Dorado has done! Take a look at the condition of our streets, and compare them with streets in the City. Our County roads have already been sealed this year.

It would be nice if the folks who have put together this pro- annexation effort would a) put their names on the website so we know who they are, and b) state the real reason they are pursuing this effort. I asked about this (names) last week and was told they are working on bylaws! That’s a very serious organizational effort and it behooves all of us to find out who or what is really pushing this effort. It strains credibility to believe this is about $500 - $600 in Fire District taxes, and the hope of better services. Or about the $25 to $80 per year you could save at the Rec Center.

It seems as if they believe if they act as if annexation is inevitable, then we will all believe that there are a lot of folks in favor. That is also not a fact.

Without becoming a resident of Cottonwood, you are free to attend public meetings (if and when they are held) regarding the property on the other side of Cornville Road. You are free to express your opinions. Being a resident of Cottonwood will not give you a “vote” on that. Their P&Z will make a recommendation to the City Council. City Council will make the decision. It won’t be something any of the “public” will get to vote on. Do you recall the furor about the statue at the Mago Park? Everyone was allowed to speak; the decisions were made by City officials, not by residents with a direct vote.

When you purchased a house in Verde Santa Fe you knew (or should have known / asked / been told):

• You were part of a rural community

• Your tax bill would include the cost of Fire Service

• If you are in a gated community, maintenance of roads would be your responsibility

Please don’t try to change the rules now. Many of us purchased here specifically for the rural community. If we wanted to live in the City, we would have purchased there.”

So far, I have received over 20 written responses, and more than that verbally, representing more homes than those attending the second meeting. With one exception, each has been ANTI annexation.

Again, I urge everyone to not assume that information equals fact.

Deborah Segall

Verde Santa Fe

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